Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty

*trigger warning: references to drug use*

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all well! Today I’m posting a book review of Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty. I really enjoyed Big Little Lies, so I was looking forward to this! This review has some spoilers so please click away if you plan on reading the book!

The synopsis of the novel is as follows:

“The retreat at health-and-wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Miles from anywhere, without cars or phones, they have no way to reach the outside world. Just time to think about themselves, and get to know each other.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission. But quite a different one from any the guests might have imagined. For behind the retreat’s glamorous facade lies a dark agenda.

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what’s about to hit them…”

In the novel, we hear from a variety of perspectives. Although I am a fan of multiple points of view, I found there were too many to keep up with in this book, and it was difficult to keep track of who was who. I also found that some of the characters were a little bit unrealistic. I didn’t like the way Jessica was portrayed at all. My favourite character was Frances. I thought she was the most realistic and she made me laugh. Napoleon is also an angel. I was sold on him the second he stood at the back of the crowd because he is over six feet tall. A message from small people everywhere: we should all be like Napoleon!

The parts about LSD really freaked me out and made me uncomfortable. It was definitely a shock when I first read it, but looking back, I think it’s probably quite obvious it’s going to happen! Although it was uncomfortable to read, I liked the metafictional elements within Frances’s point of view. It messed with my head while still fitting with the plot, which to me is what makes it successful.

I can’t decide what I thought of the ending. I felt like it was tied up too neatly, and it was a little bit disappointing. That being said, I did like the ending that Frances and the Marconi’s received.

I would recommend this book. It was very cleverly written, the plot is engaging and some of the characters are very likeable. However, I did prefer Big Little Lies, and if you haven’t read that then I strongly suggest you do! I definitely plan on reading more of Moriarty’s work. I love her writing style and she is definitely one of my favourite authors.

Let me know what you thought of the book in the comments below!

Advertisements

The Memory Book Tag!

Hi everyone, I hope you’re well! Today I’m doing the memory book tag. I saw Kristi over at Confessions of a YA Reader do this tag, and it looked like a lot of fun! I have the worst memory ever so I don’t think I’ll do very well, but I’ll give it a bash!

The rules of this challenge are to answer the questions without looking anything up on the internet or on your bookshelves.

1. Name a book written by an author called Michael.

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo. I’m not actually sure if I’ve read this book. I remember some of my friends reading it in primary school, but I don’t think I did. I might have bought the book and read it later, but that was so long ago I honestly don’t have a clue!

2. Name a book with a dragon on the cover.

I don’t read a lot of books with dragons on the cover! Again, there was a book we read in primary school that had a dragon/seahorse creature on the cover, but I can’t remember the name of it. I think it was by Michael Morpurgo though.

3. Name a book about a character called George.

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl! I used to love this book!

4. Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith.

I’m stuck on this one!

5. Name a book set in Australia.

I can picture the book in my head. It’s by Sarah Dessin. Is it called A Last Chance or something? I don’t know. The book I’m reading now is set in Australia (Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriatry) but I think that’s cheating!

6. Name a book with the name of a month in the title.

Autumn by Ali Smith. I only got this one because I’ve recently read it for university! Oh wait. Now that I’m editing this back, I’ve just realised that I could have used this for question four too. Whoops!

7. Name a book with a knife on the cover.

Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman. One of my favourite book series!

8. Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title.

One of Us Is Lying. I don’t know who wrote it and I haven’t read it, but it still counts, right?

9. Name a book with a eponymous title.

I cheated on this one. I had to look up ‘eponymous’! I suppose George’s Marvellous Medicine would also count, but I think it’s cheating to do that twice. We could also have Charlie and the Chocolate Factory if we’re continuing the children’s book route, or Adam Bede by George Eliot if I’m pretending I’m sophisticated!

10. Name a book turned into a movie!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene was first to pop into my head. I used to really like it, but it’s not really my type of book now.

This was really fun! I don’t know a lot of book bloggers so I won’t tag anyone, but if you’re looking for a fun tag to do I recommend this one. Let me know if you try it! I hope you get on better than I did!

Book Review: A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepard

Hi everyone! Today I’m doing a book review on Megan Shepard’s A Cold Legacy. This was the first book that I read this year and I’m excited to share my thoughts with you! I’ve kept this review as spoiler free as possible, and I hope you enjoy reading!

A Cold Legacy is the final book in Megan Shepard’s ‘The Madman’s Daughter’ trilogy. The book is inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The synopsis on Shepard’s website is as follows:

‘After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet- along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward- has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth Von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

‘Then she uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation- and her own intended role in it- which forces her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. Juliet must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones- or make her own.’

As you can probably tell, this book is certainly not an ordinary teenage romance novel. It’s action packed, and takes the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. It is driven by plot, however, the author uses amazing details to describe the scientific experiments.

In this novel, there isn’t a love triangle. Juliet is planning her wedding. Although she is young, her wedding acts as a nice subplot to the novel. It helps to put the darkness of her secrets into perspective. I also like how Juliet still has elements of normality in her everyday life.

The novel isn’t really a re-telling of Frankenstein. This makes sense though: it would have been an impressive feat to retell three Victorian tales in one series! The author definitely makes good use of elements of Frankenstein. The manor where Juliet is staying belonged to Victor Frankenstein’s family, and the key theme of reanimation is used. Edward also leaves, which mirrors that of the monster. I wasn’t as much of a fan of this part. It seems unfair that he is compared to a monster when he tries so hard to protect Juliet and Lucy throughout the trilogy.

I loved the setting. The novel launches straight into the description, which sets the eerie and creepy tone that is used throughout the novel. Although it is a completely different environment, the creepiness of the mansion is similar to the creepiness on Doctor Moreau’s Island.

I definitely had a lump in my throat while reading the final chapters. I wanted so much for Juliet to have her happy ending. I won’t say if the author grants her it or not: you’ll have to read to find that one out!

I’d definitely recommend these books to lovers of teenage romance. The plot is gripping and although there is a love triangle, it isn’t the main focus of the book. The Madman’s Daughter is still my favourite book from the trilogy (I wrote a review if you want to see what I thought), but I’d definitely recommend reading the rest of the series!

I hope you enjoyed this review! Let me know what your favourite novel is in the comments! I’d love to get some recommendations!

Book Review- The New York Trilogy

We all love a detective novel. Getting stuck into a good whodunnit, following the brainy detective’s methods and watching the bad guy get punished. But sometimes this can become a bit predictable. We know that the detective is superbly clever, that the bad guy will get caught, that society will return to normal. Sometimes we crave something different, more reflective of real life, where the world does not return to perfection at the end of the day.

Paul Auster takes the typical conventions of detective fiction and flips them on their head. The three short stories in The New York Trilogy are all examples of postmodern detective fiction, a genre which subverts the standard conventions of detective fiction. In it, the detectives often investigate larger concepts such as the self and identity.

Yet the novel is disguised as a typical example of detective fiction. In ‘City of Glass’, our detective Quinn is a segregated individual. Divorced from his wife, he is an author of detective fiction. A mysterious phone call leads him on a journey investigating the behaviour of Peter Stillman Snr, who is plotting to murder his son, Peter Stillman Jnr. ‘Ghosts’ follows the life of Blue, who has been tasked by White to watch Black in his apartment. ‘The Locked Room’ is narrated from the perspective of an unnamed narrator. He is investigating the disappearance of his childhood friend Fanshawe, while publishing his work.

Do they sound like simple detective mysteries? From a glance, they are. But on closer inspection, they are not just a simple detective novel.

Sometimes, there is no clear villain in the case. You could even argue there isn’t even a case. Yet there’s something engaging about these novels. Something that keeps one reading.

And yet, all of these stories are interlinked. This is not revealed to the reader until the final pages. This opens up a whole realm of possibilities that I’ve not fully wrapped my head around. Every time I pick up the book, the meaning seems to change, and I’m left with more unanswered questions.

If you’re looking for a challenging read, I’d definitely recommend this book. Auster’s writing style is engaging, and he uses lots of interesting imagery. It’s definitely a book that takes effort to work out, but it’s worth the effort. If you’re looking for a lighter read, this is not a book I would recommend.

Do you like to read detective fiction? What’s your favourite kind?

Book Review: To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Hi everyone! Today’s post is a book review on the immensely popular To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

I’ve wanted to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before for a little while. I bought it in summer, but didn’t have a chance to read it. After a stressful semester, a nice young adult novel was exactly what I needed to relax.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before is the first book in the trilogy written by Jenny Han. The synopsis of the first novel on Han’s website reads as follows:

‘Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her, these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved.

When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul, and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.

Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.’

There was lots I liked about this book. Firstly, I liked the characterisation of Peter. He is completely different from the stereotypical popular boy and is much more interesting. I also really liked Lara Jean. I was able to picture her really well and I loved her little quirks. I was definitely hoping that they would end up together!

As a whole, I liked the plot. It was a little bit different from the typical ‘girl meets boy’ love story. It sucked me in, and during the middle I struggled to put it down. But it did take me a while to get to this point. I found the start incredibly boring and unrealistic. For example, Lara Jean bakes her younger sister cookies and places them on the bedside table while she sleeps so she wakes up to the smell of freshly baked cookies. I also found Lara Jean always being with her sister and her boyfriend a little strange. Furthermore, Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty is a completely unrealistic character. She’s supposed to be nine, but she acts much older.

Once Peter and Lara Jean begin dating, the plot begins to move faster, and I was hooked. It is driven by action and dialogue rather than the description that I usually favour. But Han does use some fantastic descriptions. I really like the simile ‘like we were two leftover heels of bread and together we made a dry sandwich’. Overall, I’d like to have seen more ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’.

I also wouldn’t describe the book as a fluffy teenage romance. Although parts of the plot are lighthearted and had me laughing out loud (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say ‘Saint’ Andrews in my life!), Margot’s evident homesickness and the pressures that are placed upon Lara Jean provide weight to the book. I would have liked to see the author delve deeper into these concepts, especially Margot’s homesickness.

I didn’t enjoy the ending of the novel. Unlike the film where everything is neatly tied up, the novel seemed to stop in the middle of the plot which means I have lots of unanswered questions. The status of Peter and Lara Jean’s relationship is a big one. Peter leaves very abruptly and it’s unclear if they are completely over. Although I do quite like when novels end on a cliffhanger, this just felt like it ha stopped in the middle. If there was a bigger scene between him and Lara Jean, the novel would have felt more finished.

If you enjoy reading young adult romances, this is definitely a great book to read. Although it has a slow start, it’s definitely worth a read if you enjoy the classic ‘girl meets boy’ storyline. It’s not the best book that has ever been written, but the plot is a unique twist on the classic love story. It’s also worth a read if you enjoyed the movie. There’s lots of additional scenes that have been omitted, and as we all know, the book is always better than the movie!

What did you think of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before? Let me know in the comments!

*image of the book cover is taken from Han’s website*

My Current TBR List!

Hi everyone! Today I thought I’d share my TBR list! Can I even call myself a bookworm if I didn’t have a TBR list as long as my arm? It will take me so long to get through all these books since I have to focus on uni, but I thought it would be fun to share it nonetheless!

The Good Girls by Sara Sheperd

This is the sequel to The Perfectionists, which I read this summer. I did really enjoy the book, but it didn’t feel finished properly. I’m excited to read this to see what happens.

A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd

This is the final book in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, which is a series that has captured my heart. Each of the books is a modern adaptation on a classic gothic fiction text. The first is based on The Island of Doctor Moreau, and the second is based on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This one is based on Frankenstein and I have high hopes for it. I studied Frankenstein in first year, and I really enjoyed reading it. I’m sure I’ll enjoy this adaptation just as much!

To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’ve seen so much hype about this on social media, and I’ve finally bought the Kindle version! I’m sure you all know the plot, so I won’t bore you with that! I’m hoping it lives up to the hype though.

Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout

Strout is a major inspiration for my own writing. I’ve mentioned before that I love the way she describes things. I don’t know what this book is about, but I’m sure that I will love it.

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

I mentioned in my summer wrap up that I wasn’t the biggest fan of How To Stop Time. I do really want to read this book, but I’m unsure if I’ll manage to get around to it. Hopefully I’ll be able to read some more of his work in the near future.

The Power by Naomi Alderman

This was in my Summer list and I still haven’t had a chance to read it! It looks awesome though, and the plot seems to be driven by girl power, which I love.

Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

This is the autobiography of the American gymnast Simone Biles. I can’t believe I didn’t read this in summer! I asked for it as a Christmas present and it’s been on my shelf ever since. Whoops!

Fierce by Aly Raisman

Again, another autobiography by a gymnast, but this time it’s Aly Raisman. Honestly, I can’t wait to buy this. I’m looking forward to growing my collection of gymnastics related books: it will be my third autobiography!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

This is a re read, so I’m not sure it technically counts! This is another book that’s very popular in the blogging community. It didn’t leave a big impression on me, so I want to read it again to see if my feelings have changed.

Freshers by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen

Again, another re read. This may have a spoiler so be warned! At the end of the book, we find out that one of the main characters is really horrible, but I didn’t get that vibe at all. I want to re read it to see if I missed something major, or if this character really isn’t as bad as they are made out to be. I may end up doing a full review on it.

I don’t know when I’ll update you all on what I actually read because I never seem to have the time! If you have any book recommendations for me, please let me know in the comments!

What I Read In Summer 2018!

So I suppose summer is officially over. Although I can’t wait for the Autumn trends, I’m still sad that the sunshine is gone. I definitely fell back in love with reading this summer, and over the whole summer I read eight books. Here’s what I read!

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Although I did find it hard to get into this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The book has so many little details, which I love. The character of Lucy is so realistic and you can really tell the author has put so much thought into her. The book relies on the details and the plot isn’t driven by exciting events, which could have been why I struggled getting into it. I will definitely be reading more of her work!

All About Mia by Lisa Williamson

I was excited to read this book as I love The Art of Being Normal. Unfortunately I was let down. I did feel some sympathy for Mia although at times I just wanted to shake her and tell her to grow up. I also guessed the ending, which rarely happens! If you like books by Chris Higgins and Cathy Cassidy you may like this, however, it isn’t for me.

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

This book is an adaptation on the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which I haven’t read. I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first one, which is so sad. At first, I was so worried Montgomery wasn’t going to be in it, but he did show up eventually. If you haven’t guessed, I’m firmly team Montgomery! I did enjoy that the book had more emphasis on strong female characters, and it seems that it will lead nicely onto the next one. I am very excited for the final book!

A Street Cat Named Bob by James Bowen.

I really liked this book. It was easy to read, and I loved how the bond between man and cat was portrayed. I’ve seen snippets of the film and I’d love to watch it all, although it seems quite different to the book. I’m not sure if I’d read any more books by the same author, but I’d definitely recommend this one to a friend! It’s a heartwarming tale.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.

Wow. I loved this book! It follows the lives of a group of mothers whose children attend the same kindergarten. At the end of the book, there is a murder. There are little police interviews at the end of each chapter, which hooked me. Although it sounds boring, it is incredibly cleverly written. The book is narrated through three mother’s points of view. Each mother is battling something in their personal lives and I loved the way this tied into the main plot line. I really haven’t sold it well, but if you read one book from this post, make it this one!

The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard.

I’m very torn on this book. I’d written in my notes that I wouldn’t go rushing back, but I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. At some points it was predictable but it was still a good story. The ending is weird though, and it didn’t feel like the book was finished. It was written by the same author of Pretty Little Liars, so I’d recommend it if you’re a fan of that. I’m keen to read the sequel though!

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

I’m going to be completely honest, I didn’t love this book. I really liked the concept but I found it hard to get into. After about two thirds of the way in, I did start to like it, but it didn’t really hook me. I will read more from the author though.

Why Mummy Drinks by Gill Sims.

This is definitely not suited to younger readers! At first, I found this book absolutely hilarious. At some points I was laughing out loud! The speaker is basically a grown up version of Georgia Nicholson, who I loved when I was younger. I did start to tire of her really quickly though. I really didn’t like the way she acted towards Charlie, and in places it’s completely unrealistic. I also found it a bit overly descriptive in places. The book would sometimes start a point, then launch into an anecdote, then go back to the original point. This is clearly to make it sound more like a diary but I found it hard to follow. I’d recommend this to older readers who are looking for a laugh.

I know I didn’t get through my whole list, but I was really happy to have the opportunity to read all these books. I think I’ll do a post on my updated TBR list, although I know there’s no way I’ll manage them all! I definitely want to post more book-related content on my blog, so look out for that in the future!